We’ve all heard the term “coloring outside the lines,” and whether you apply the term figuratively or literally, that’s exactly where we’re going with today’s challenge.
Coloring-in outlined images is one of the joys of using stamps and digis as you well know. It allows folks to start with a flat image, and to essentially bring it to life. It was my experience as an art student years ago that the concept of starting your artwork with an outline is a bit of a, well, a non-starter. We were taught not to think linearly. They try to break you of the habit of drawing in outlines. We are instead encouraged to think in values: light, dark, and all the gradients of highlight and shadow in between. We practice it like crazy using different approaches, techniques, and ways of thinking. It’s not that beginning art students are taught to completely avoid lines or outlines, rather quite the contrary. The goal is to learn to adjust your line quality — the width of the line, the intensity with which the line is drawn — to reflect what we are seeing.
I’d venture to say that what art classes really teach you is not really how to be an artist but moreso how to look at things. How to consider. How to determine what to limit and what to embrace. How to figure out what speaks to you and how you want to reflect that creatively with your media of choice. Henri Matisse said:
“I don’t paint things. I only paint the difference between things.”
Yes, Henri, YES! (Or, I suppose it should be Oui, Henri, OUI!) When I approach coloring one of my stamp designs, I have to confess, I cannot stay in the lines. I don’t want to! I feel that the area around the stamped image is just as important as the area inside. The “negative space.” You may notice in my work that I tend to draw shadow beneath and around objects. By the time the image makes it to you, believe me, I’ve probably already erased about half the shadow I originally put in the drawing. I tend to forget that you guys are going to die-cut or fussy-cut these drawings to be a part of a larger, unique creation for a card or project, which is of course FABULOUS. But my instinct as an artist is to just keep going. To illustrate what I see, or what I imagine, or what I feel.
For the third Mini Challenge, I want you to look at things differently.
Power & Sparklette: Week 3
Power & Sparklette: Week 3
Color outside the lines — whatever that means to you.
Whether it is literally coloring outside the lines, coloring beyond the lines, or coloring ON TOP of the lines. Perhaps it is figuratively coloring outside the lines — trying a technique that is new to you. We are gonna try to stretch ourselves on this one. And folks, you don’t have to complete a card. Just get your coloring materials out, stamp or print out an image, and see what happens when you color outside the lines. Whatever that may mean to you.
Here’s what I made when trying to color outside the lines, using one of two free downloads I illustrated from of the winning quotes from our Week 1 Challenge.
I began with a print-out of the Let It Be digital coloring sheet. I enlarged the image to 125% and changed the opacity to 70% so the black outline wouldn’t dominate. I started painting swooshes of Indigo Blue gouache paint with a very wet sable paintbrush all around the perimeter of the art, and actually painted right over Sir Paul McCartney’s name. Sorry, Paul! I let the blue go inside and in between the leaves. I decided to give some color to the LEAVES ONLY. Coloring outside the lines for me was literal, but I also had a goal of leaving something white. It is so hard for me not to touch every single darn white space on the paper.
So I deepened all of my blues and my green shadows. I cross-hatched and finetuned, I added more color to the leaves, even dulled out the greens with red, and then started putting blue on the leaves to connect the background to the foreground. More shading, more lines, more color, more shading. More fun in the background to really push the lettering to be the most prominent aspect of the work.
But my ladies, let me tell you, I wanted to color in the letters. OHHHHH I wanted to so badly!! I almost did. But I couldn’t help but be affected by what the image was shouting at me in all caps: “LET IT BE”.
Was it a message from the Universe? Can’t I even put some little dots in there? “LET IT BE”.
Oh. Are you sure I can’t just shade inside the edges of each letter with some yellow? “LET IT BE”.
Finally I decided to listen, and I let it be.
And you know what, I rather like how it turned out! Note, I did end up coloring inside the lines a little bit — whoops! — but those were just a part of the artistic process. Elements of human touch. And I let them be!
Now it’s your turn!
Share with us your interpretation of Coloring Outside the Lines here on the blog using the InLinks button below.
On Instagram, please share your coloring creations using the hashtag #powerandsparklette — and we will come find you!!
I will choose a winner from the entries, and that colorist will receive every set in our 2016 Holiday Clear Stamp Collection when they debut in October.
I hope to see a big show and tell of coloring experimentation — it doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, it shouldn’t be perfect. It should reflect your inner artistry. Your ability to see things, and to try things. Because you, my friend, are Courageous and Creative, and ALWAYS Awesome.